Saudi Arabia projects failure at next Arab summit
A leading Saudi newspaper on Saturday predicted failure at the upcoming Arab summit in Tunis, one day after the Saudis announced Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz would not attend the meeting.
In a front-page editorial, Al-Riyadh wrote “The prelude to the failure of the Tunis summit may have been during the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo (in early March), when we returned to the same tune, with states that do not have the same weight as others on the Arab and world scenes opposing (proposals on) the topics of reforming the Arab League, peace and putting the Arab home in order,” the paper said.
“Given that (all 22 members are) equal under league rules and that any one state can block Arab action, indications are that the next (Arab) summit will see either a truncated presence (of heads of state) or that it will be canceled,” or end with a repeat of past declarations, Al-Riyadh said.
Saudi Arabia presented “more than a plan reflecting Arab reality, and together with Egypt and Syria, showed greater understanding of Arab conditions and global changes,” it said.
But given that some league members might derail plans “they see as imposing the trusteeship of bigger states over smaller ones... some Arab leaders might be staying away from the summit in order to avoid the embarrassment in front of Arab and world public opinion” that failure would cause.
Arab summits will remain doomed so long as some states fail to take a pan-Arab, rather than unilateral, approach, and without regional leadership “along the lines of German-French leadership of the European Union,” the daily added.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)